Mr. Allan Trice, Senior Designer with International Submarine Engineering Ltd received an Honorary Doctorate of Technology by the British Columbia School of Technology (BCIT) on June 20, 2008. Al is being recognized as one of the pioneers in the subsea industry for BC. For 45 years he has contributed toward the practice of engineering and manufacturing in this specialized area.
Al first trained and worked as a commercial diver in the mid 1950's. Over the years he became one of the most respected and capable Canadian divers in Vancouver. His diving experiences include assisting in one of the worst construction tragedies BC has ever had; in 1958, the collapse of the Second Narrows Bridge. Al was also instrumental in developing a method of diver decompression that uses pure oxygen in the final or longest stages of decompression. This practice is used in decompression chambers today. Realizing the restrictions diving had and the need to reach greater depths, Al's fortitude and knowledge in subsea equipment led him to become one of the first developers of the manned submersible.
In 1964 Al founded International Hydrodynamics Company (Hyco) in North Vancouver. It was at Hyco that he developed and manufactured the Pisces line of submersibles, which were the first operational vehicles in the world. For 13 years at Hyco, a total of 14 submersibles were built with depth ratings of 2000 meters and a seating capacity for up to 24. Al's pioneering contributions to the subsea industry have contributed significantly to BC's establishment as a center for subsea technological excellence with over 100 companies involved and an annual turnover of $300 million.
The Hudson Handler (1972) Al's innovation did not stop with submersibles. In the 70's, he designed a modular ship which could be transported by rail for manned submersible support in Hudson's Bay, allowing surveys to be conducted over a much longer part of the summer season. The ship, entitled the Hudson Handler was built in a period of 26 days and transported by 8 flat cars. He also developed a novel launch and recovery system for underwater vehicles, and was involved with the development of the NASA space shuttle booster rocket de-watering system.
Throughout his impressive career, Al has been instrumental in the training and mentoring of new technologists in the field, passing along his expansive knowledge and experiences of sub sea engineering to the next generation. His contributions have been instrumental to the development of a number of experimental university underwater vehicles in Canada and the United States. Today, Al is significantly involved in the design of ISE's Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, Remotely Operated Vehicles and support systems.